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1001 Stories Collection

Maid Marian and Her Merry Men

1001 Maid Marian And Her Merry Men
Added on 09th September 2020

Screenplay writer Tony Robinson
Director David Bell
First shown 1989, BBC, UK

A very funny, surreal and subversive retelling of the legends of Robin Hood.


Maid Marian is the hero and the brains in this subversive retelling of the Robin Hood legend. Robin himself is both vain and cowardly but has somehow gained a reputation he does not deserve. Over four series Marian leads her band of outlaws to right wrongs and fight for the poor villagers of Worksop, thwarting the plans of the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and tyrannical King John. The incompetence of the outlaws, the wit of the script and the inclusion of regular song and dance interludes made it a surreal and witty take on a familiar legend.

Why we chose it

An irreverent, surreal and very funny alternative telling of the Robin Hood legends.

Where it came from

Tony Robinson wanted to write a sitcom for children that had the feel of an alternative comedy show. It has been called Blackadder for kids, a surreal historical comedy which finds humour in the customs of the time in which it’s set but also in spoofing popular films and television programmes. Robinson was inspired to write Marian when watching his daughter take charge of the football team. Tony Robinson himself played the Sheriff of Nottingham

Where it went next

Maid Marian and her Merry Men won both BAFTA and RTS awards.

It was adapted for the stage by Tony Robinson, Mark Billingham and David Lloyd and the script was published as a book as part of a series of BBC plays intended to be used in the classroom at KS3

Associated stories

Robin Hood has been televised a number of times, most notably in 1955 with Richard Greene as Robin, in 1984 with Michael Praed and in 2006 with Jonas Armstrong in the title role. Each started with the legend but took their own direction and created their own stories. The 2006 version gives Marian a more proactive role – she secretly helps the people of Nottingham and is known as the ‘night watchman’ – but in a more dramatic departure from the legend, she doesn’t appear in series 3 having been killed by Guy of Gisbourne at the end of series 2.

Added on 09th September 2020

Screenplay writer Tony Robinson
Director David Bell
First shown 1989, BBC, UK